Book Preview: Never Let Me Go

never let me goRecently I finished reading the novel The Remains of the Day (1989) by Kazuo Ishiguro. I was well into the book before I understood the subtleties of the story and appreciated its emotional undercurrent. Having seen the film long ago, I was fuzzy on the plot.

Today I present to you another of Ishiguro’s celebrated works, Never Let Me Go (2005), which was also adapted as a film (2010). As in his other work, the author introduces very human characters who are contained and controlled by their circumstances, which are not immediately clear but take the reader on an emotional journey.

Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy have had an unusual upbringing. Sheltered and isolated during childhood at Hailsham, a private school in the English countryside, they have been raised for a purpose. That purpose is gradually revealed to be a service to humanity as “donors.” Along with the bigger picture of the fates of these now-grown children, there is the relationship between the three friends that continues to evolve.

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan. His parents relocated to England when he was five. He now resides in London, and is a British citizen. His work has won numerous awards.

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Book Preview: The Opposite of Maybe

the opposite of maybeThe Opposite of Maybe (2014) is the latest fiction by Maddie Dawson, pseudonym of journalist and author Sandi Kahn Shelton. It is a messy but charming tale of second chances that introduces Rosie and Jonathan, who have been together for fifteen years, happily unmarried and living the life in Connecticut that suits them both. Then Jonathan accepts a job opportunity on the other side of the country, in San Diego, and finally proposes marriage.

Rosie agrees to go with her fiance, although she has some reservations, but then backs out at the last minute in favor of moving in with her eighty-eight-year-old grandmother Soapie, who raised her. Soapie is slowing down and could use some help, but she has a boarder/gardener/personal assistant who fills the bill in his own quirky way.

Rosie doesn’t approve of Tony. He is a bad influence on her grandmother, but two weeks after Jonathan leaves the forty-four-year old discovers she is pregnant for the first time, and Tony is there for her. There are subsequent revelations about her mother, and Tony has complications of his own. Rosie must decide how to live with new priorities while being true to herself.

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Book Preview: Stuck

stuckStuck (2013) by Stacey D. Atkinson is a coming-of-age story about Canadian Odette LeBlanc, a twenty-three-year-old living in a New Brunswick village, where she has been working the night shift at a convenience store since graduating from high school. She spends her days sleeping in the trailer she shares with her Bingo-addicted mother and her fifteen-year-old sister, and dreaming of a different life. Hers has become a predictable routine. It is filled with the directionless young people and struggling immigrants with whom she works at night. During the day, she is only rescued from her home life by her well-earned sleep.

Then she meets a summer visitor from a very different background, and gets a taste of a new kind of life. But gallivanting during the day instead of sleeping takes a toll. Odette faces an uncertain future, and must determine what is important in her life with little help from those around her.

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Book Preview: The Whiskey Creek Water Company

the whiskey creek water companyThe Whiskey Creek Water Company (2013) by Jan Walker takes place in the small town of Burke Bay on Puget Sound in Washington State. The story begins just before the Thanksgiving holiday in 1932, when stranger Farley Price arrives in town with his family, looking for work and trouble. His daughter Hannah loves books and endears herself to the school teacher. His abused wife Eleanor settles into the community and wants to stay.

Schoolteacher Maeva Swanson ignores gossip about Farley, even the warnings from her fiance, boat captain Axel Jenson.  The newcomer has been hired to deliver liquor for Orval Blevins, who owns the headwaters of Whiskey Creek.

Hauk and Lang Nordlund, quiet bachelor brothers, admire unavailable Maeva and Eleanor and patiently wait for their opportunity to step into an already volatile situation.

This story gives the reader a look into small town life during the Great Depression, when prolonged unemployment and economic uncertainty blended with the struggles of family and community life.

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Book Preview: New Money

new moneyNew Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (2013) tells the tale of Savannah Morgan, a twenty-four-year-old assistant librarian in Charlotte, South Carolina. Her mother lead her to believe that she was the result of a wild and reckless liaison. But despite the fact that she never knew her father, and was looked down on by the local debutantes, Savannah has big plans to use her degree in literature to become a writer and head to the city. She worries whether or not she made a mistake when she turned down a recent marriage proposal.

Then she is contacted by a New York lawyer, who informs her that she is to inherit the estate of her father, Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who is recently deceased.

But there’s a catch-Savannah must move to New York and work at her father’s global news corporation in Manhattan. While trying to discover who her father really was and dodging her step-siblings-who want her gone, this modern Cinderella must decide to whom her heart will belong. This story of every girl’s dream come true points out the unique challenges of sudden wealth.

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Book Preview: The Last MacKlenna

LastMacKlenna.inddToday’s book preview is about the indie companion book to Katherine Lowry Logan’s The Ruby Brooch (2012), which introduced Kit MacKlenna’s godfather, Elliott Fraser. In The Last MacKlenna (2013), Meredith Montgomery, the first female president of her family’s 160-year-old Napa, California winery and a dedicated marathon runner, makes a quick trip to Scotland before her cancer surgery. There she meets thoroughbred horse breeder Elliott Fraser, CEO of MacKlenna Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. He has problems of his own: after surviving an attack on his life, he now faces an attack on his horses that could destroy his family business. Although these two over-achievers are attracted to each other right away, they have great difficulty fitting a romance into their busy schedules, and giving up their mutual need for control. This engaging novel is a stand-alone, so even if you haven’t read The Ruby Brooch yet, I recommend this follow-up novel. I look forward to reading it myself.

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Book Preview: The Biology of Luck

the biology of luckIn The Biology of Luck (2013) by Jacob M. Appel, Larry Bloom is a New York City tour guide, wanna-be novelist, and casualty of love. Self-diagnosed as nondescript and homely, Larry wrote a novel for and about Starshine Hart, a woman as striking as her name. She is the object of Larry’s affection, and author Appel has included excerpts from his main character’s fiction, written from Starshine’s perspective, about the day when Larry reveals his love for her and the book he will soon publish about her.

A letter from a publisher which may contain the fate of the book shows up at the beginning of the story, but is put aside for later. This novel takes place in a single June day. It is filled with the real-time adventures of Larry as he guides a tour through the city and the story inside the story of how he imagines Starshine spending her day. The book draws to a tandem conclusion at the end of this postmodern romance when Larry and Starshine meet for their dinner date.

 

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